2 plead guilty to drug charges

Two Georgia men pleaded guilty to federal drug charges this week in an investigation of a nationwide, multi-million dollar synthetic marijuana operation with ties to Lafayette, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Boyd A. Barrow, 43, and Joshua Espinoza, 49, both of Georgia, were among nine men indicted in September in the investigation.

They face up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to a federal charge related to the distribution of synthetic drugs.

Barrow and Espinoza were accused of supplying about $3.3 million of a synthetic marijuana product branded as “Mr. Miyagi,” much of it sold through Curious Goods, a smoke shop on Kaliste Saloom Road in Lafayette, and other “head shops” across the country, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office late Wednesday.

Prosecutors alleged that the product was designed for use as a recreational drug but that the packaging identified “Mr. Miyagi” as a potpourri with a “warm pleasant aroma that refreshes the air.”

Barrow and Espinoza obtained the synthetic drug component that was used to make “Mr. Miyagi” from NutraGenomics, a Georgia company whose owners have already pleaded guilty in the case, prosecutors said.

NutraGenomics sold about $10 million worth of the synthetic marijuana ingredient to customers in 25 states, prosecutors said.

Charges are pending against five others charged in the case.